Sam Altman, the now former CEO of OpenAI, has departed his role and is leaving its board, according to a company post on Friday. But questions about his role at other entities like Worldcoin, the crypto project he co-founded, remain up in the air as its token falls on the news.
Worldcoin’s token, WLD, fell more than 13% on the day, to $1.91, CoinMarketCap data showed. When asked about Altman’s future at Worldcoin or its plans going forward, Worldcoin did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.
Altman’s crypto project raised $115 million in May in a Series C round led by Blockchain Capital. In March, TechCrunch reported Altman was on the board of Worldcoin, but is not involved in the “day-to-day” operations.
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Worldcoin obtains users by scanning irises through its Orb, which then assigns users an “iris code” or “World ID” that grants users access to the projects’ application and provides them with “a digital passport,” Tiago Sada, head of product for Tools for Humanity and a core contributor to Worldcoin, said on TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction podcast in September. The verification process purportedly allows people to prove their identity, and the iris code is used to make sure they don’t go and get another one.
In August, Worldcoin faced pushback from countries, including Kenya, which halted the project from scanning any more of its citizens’ eyeballs (and the project ignored initial orders). Worldcoin has faced backlash from critics, who allege the company targets developing economies. The project gives most participants (outside the U.S. and some other countries) 25 WLD tokens, worth roughly $48, in exchange for signing up, which could be seen as exploitative.
Sada said that giving out the free tokens and going to developing countries was fair because most projects, especially in crypto and tech, focus on emerging markets, as “those are the easier ones to operate in.”
While OpenAI stated Friday that the board “no longer has confidence in [Altman’s] ability to continue leading” the company, its statement didn’t fully explain why Altman was fired or where he stands with other related organizations, like Worldcoin.
Worldcoin’s application has over four million downloads and its active users are “more than double” globally, according to a blog post from the beginning of November. There are more than 2.4 million “unique humans” on Worldcoin and in the most recent seven days at the time of writing, about 53,800 new accounts have been made, and there have been over 59,000 daily wallet transactions, according to the company’s website.